Can a Lawyer Prove Fault in a Car Accident When Someone Runs a Stop Sign in Texas?
If someone runs a stop sign and hits you, it can cause a lot of damage to your car and injure you and your passengers — especially if the other driver was speeding. But it may be your word against the other driver’s.
Fortunately, a good Dallas car accident lawyer may be able to help you prove you were not at fault in an accident, and that the other driver was. If you’ve been injured in an accident, proving liability is crucial to getting compensation for your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and other expenses resulting from the accident.
There are several things you can do to help your case in the event the other driver denies fault. Many of these must be done at the time of the accident, so hopefully you have a clear head after the accident.
1. Call the Police Immediately.
If you have been involved in any accident other than a small parking lot fender bender, it is a good idea to report the accident to the police. If you choose not to call the police, no one is injured, and the damage is estimated to be less than $1000, you will still want to fill out what is known as a CR-2 Crash Report (Blue Form), so that you have a record of what happened. This will come in handy for insurance purposes. Up until September 2017, the state of Texas required drivers to file the CR-2, but the law has since changed. If anyone has been killed or injured, or damage to one or more vehicles is more than $1000, you are required to call the police.
After calling the police, wait for them to arrive, and then tell them the other driver ran the stop sign. The other driver may deny it, but by calling the police, you get it on the record, in the official police report, known as a Peace Officer’s Crash Report, or CR-3. This report is admissible as evidence in court, if it comes to that.
You can learn more about each of these crash reports on the Texas Department of Transportation website.
2. Get Names and Contact Information for Witnesses.
You’re in luck if there were witnesses to the accident who can back up your side of the story. Get their names and contact information, and even consider using your smartphone to take a short video with them saying what happened, with their consent, of course. Liability in an accident often comes down to your word against the other driver’s, so having witness statements can be critical.
3. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene.
If you’re not seriously injured, take pictures with your cell phone. Take a wide shot of the accident scene, close-ups of both cars, any debris, skid marks, or lack thereof. Walk down the street that the other car was driving on, and take pictures of the intersection from that vantage point. Take a picture of the stop sign.
If you’ve been injured or don’t have a smartphone, get a friend or family member to take pictures of the accident scene, your car, and your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. If you got the contact information for the other driver but you weren’t able to get pictures of their car at the scene of the accident, you now have their address, and you could go there and take pictures of their vehicle. Just be sure to stay on public property while doing so. Do not confront the other driver or their family members.
4. Use the Evidence to Build Your Case and Prove Liability.
If you’re lucky, the police report will assign fault to the other driver and state in black and white that they ran the stop sign, and they will be charged with a traffic violation. In cut and dried cases like that, the insurance company almost always comes to a quick settlement.
However, it’s not always that simple, and the other driver’s insurance company may be trying to say you were partially to blame for the accident, and that their client didn’t run the stop sign. This is when getting witness statements can be crucial. Your car accident lawyer or their investigator will take recorded witness statements. If one or more unbiased witnesses says the other driver ran the stop light, that is generally all it will take for an insurance company to settle up, or for a jury to side with you.
Photos of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle can also be used to show that they ran a stop sign. Depending on the circumstances, your car will have been hit broadside, or damage to the front or back corner. If the other driver ran the stop sign, no matter what damage your vehicle sustained, their vehicle will have front end damage.
Don’t try and negotiate with the insurance company alone. An experienced Dallas car accident lawyer can review your case with you, and ensure you get the full compensation you deserve. Many times, insurance companies make a low ball offer to see if they can get away with it. By working with a lawyer, you show that you’re serious.
Insurance compensation should cover a variety of costs as a result of the car accident, including:
- Medical bills, if you were injured
- Lost wages
- Repair or replacement of your car
- Repair to other damaged property
5. Talk to an Experienced Dallas Car Accident Lawyer for Free.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident, consulting with one of our experienced Dallas car accident lawyers can help you decide how to move forward. The initial consultation is free and puts you under no obligation. At our initial meeting, we’ll talk with you about the accident, the extent of your injuries, and discuss any offers the insurance company has already made.